The Ballestero Blog

"That's what I'm talking about!"

The Heartache Church

with 2 comments

The Heartache Church

Pastor Miller hung the phone up and slumped into the chair. This was unbelievable! It was sickening. He sensed the pending devastation.

The voice mail on his cell phone announced that the 3rd couple in two months wanted to move their membership across town to the big church.

Only a handful of families were left here now. Would the nightmare ever stop? It was like a hemorrhage that was unending. The families that had left weren’t content to just go, they pulled on the remaining ones with reports of how wonderful things were at the new church. Their family and friends wavered in their loyalties. Who knew where it would stop. His church wasn’t growing. It was shrinking and he couldn’t stop the process.

No letter of transfer was ever asked for, and the other pastor had never called when someone moved in. He didn’t want to accuse the pastor across town of trying to proselyte, but the members there didn’t hesitate to do it for him.

The big church had quite a few people with money. They could afford to hire a full-time music director. They had also imported a youth pastor that was given full reign and a handsome expense account to attract and entertain young people. He did his job well, evidently. He personally encouraged all the young people in town to be a part of his youth group.

The bigger church had concerts, dramas, guitar-driven worship, newer songs, fog machines, strobe lights, multimedia presentations, Power-Points and many well-known guest speakers. A Starbucks type coffee shop was just down the hall from the entrance. The aroma always drew a crowd. Their church always had something going on there.

It was impossible for pastor Miller’s small church to compete with the big boys. He had neither the resources nor the staff. He worked a secular job just to keep the wolf away from the door.

He had nearly broken his health trying to dig a church out of nothing. He had been ethical to a fault. He had never taken anyone from another church.

He personally had won most of the people in his church. He had taught almost everyone there a Home Bible Study. He had prayed them through. He had baptized them. So, this is the thanks he gets? How does he stop the migration? He didn’t want to feel jealous or harbor bad thoughts, but it still didn’t feel good. His wife was devastated. Now, there was little chance the church would be self-supporting anytime soon.

He knew the Pentecostals in town considered him “old school”.  He still had testimony service. His church even sang out of the songbook. They sang many choruses that were sung by previous generations.

A piano and a box guitar provided the music. They used to have a drummer, but he had moved across town to the big church.

Bro. Miller had never been invited to preach a special meeting in his life. He knew he never would be asked.

Two special needs adults in his church always caused distractions to visitors. One often spoke out loud at the wrong time and had to be treated like a child.

The $41.43 in the Sunday night offering last week didn’t pay much on the utilities or church payment. His people were poor. He had to help most of them survive. He had paid utilities for many of his people, helped a few times with their house payments. He’d even co-signed for a car, once or twice.

The girls in the big church called the young girls in his church ‘grandmas’. Their modest apparel was scorned as unnecessary. At the big church, not much was said about standards evidently. (That was an unkind thought he knew, but he was not impressed by what he’d seen of them in the mall.)

There was no one for pastor Miller to complain to, confide in, or cry with. He privately wished that the Prophet Nathan would go across town and preach the story of the ‘one ewe lamb’ again. It seemed fitting.

When he heard reports about ‘revival’ and church growth across town, he knew where some of the growth had come from.

Life didn’t seem fair. He made up his mind that he would paste a smile on his face, keep doing his best to have good church, preach like there was a house full, not talk about those who left and encourage the rest. His job, he knew, was to pray blessings on the big church and their pastor.

Pastor Miller knew that not all big churches were like the one across town from him. God would sort it all out somehow and Heaven’s Bookkeepers never made any mistakes. He was trying to help build God’s Kingdom, not his own. For him, this had been a long heartache. But, he would not allow there to be a war in God’s Kingdom.

This Too Is Home Missions!

A re-post from

The Home Missions Chronicles Blog
by Martyn Ballestero

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 8, 2018 at 4:32 pm

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Been there, think I am still there. Dig a church out of nothing, battle through cancer and still build a church which is now paid for!!! Thank God for His goodness!! People driive from my town and by my church just to go to the BIG church but that’s OK. Me and the ones I have left are going to make it. Still the old school, sing out of songbook, have Sun. Morning service, Sunday night, Wed. Bible study—- no fog lights, no smoke machines——- just Holy Ghost smoke. I hope there will be a generation behind us that will contend for the Faith

    Pastor Ricky James

    January 8, 2018 at 9:17 pm

  2. I may be wrong but I think not: when I hear about or see the big churches, I know I would not feel “at home” there. I don’t think the people and maybe even the Pastor would actually get to know me personally or even care personally about me and my troubles. In a big church, I am sure I would feel like just another number. I like the smaller church I am in, I feel like I’m with family!

    Debbie Carpenter

    January 9, 2018 at 10:10 pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: